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10 Asian Artists You Must See at Art Basel 2017


10 Asian Artists You Must See at Art Basel 2017
Art Basel 2017 features "Now I Won" by Claudia Comte (Image courtesy of the artist)

Art Basel is arguably one of the biggest art fairs in the art world calendar, and the Swiss original that spawned a series of off-shoots (Miami Beach and Hong Kong) has returned for its latest iteration. Running from 15 to 18 June, the show brings together 291 of the world's leading galleries to show the works of a whopping 4,000 artists. Faced with this onslaught of art, which can be pretty overwhelming, we've pick out some highlights that feature works by the region's most outstanding Asian artists!


  1. Subodh Gupta, Cooking the World (Unlimited, Hauser & Wirth)

    Installation view of British-Indian artist Subodh Gupta's "Cooking the World"
    Image courtesy of Art Basel

    Art Basel's Unlimited section is a showcase of some of the most amazing large scale artworks. This year, British-Indian artist Subodh Gupta took over Instagram with his work Cooking the World. The 20 metre installation is made out of aluminium kitchen utensils, in which visitors are invited to engage in the communal dining of dishes such as saffron yoghurt or lentil soup at a long bar. The installation-performance-art piece pays homage to cooking and the rituals of eating.

  2. Anicka Yi, Skype Sweater (Unlimited, 47 Canal and Metro Pictures)

    "Skype Sweater" (2010–17) by Anicka Yi , presented by 47 Canal and Metro Pictures
    Image courtesy of Benjamin Westoby
    Skype Sweater is a work first shown at 179 Canal in 2010 by Anicka Yi, and has been reprised for the Unlimited section of Art Basel. It features a giant parachute gently rising and falling, flanked by three plinths showcasing a transparent Longchamp bag filled with an oozing mass, as well as razor blades that appear to be encased in resin. 
  3. Song Dong, Through the Wall (Unlimited, PACE Gallery)

    "Through the Wall" (2016) by Song Dong at the PACE Gallery booth
    Image courtesy of David Owens
    Chinese artist Song Dong's Through the Wall is a 15ft by 29ft structure comprised of fragments from the former homes of people who lived in Beijing’s historic 'hutong' neighbourhoods lined with a multitude of mirrors. The work preserves these historical houses, paying homage to the past and immortalising them in his art.
  4. Xu Zhen produced by MadeIn Company, Under Heaven-2232GL1512 (Galleries, Booth S22, Long March Space)

    A detail of "Under Heaven-2232GL1512" (2105) by Xu Zhen produced by MadeIn Company presented by Long March Space
    Image courtesy of the artist and Long March Space

    Under Heaven is a series of works by Chinese artist Xu Zhen that uses pastry bags filled with candy-coloured oil paints, pipped directly on to the canvas surface. These extravagant canvases present an impenetrable dense baroque of swirls and scallops that mimic the delicious sweetness of cakes and pastries to give a sense of hedonism, stimulating the visual senses.

  5. Kwon Young-Woo, Untitled (Galleries, Booth D8, Kukje Gallery and Tina Kim Gallery)

    "Untitled" (c. 1980) by Kwon Young-Woo presented by Tina Kim Gallery and Kukje Gallery
    Image courtesy of the artist and Tina Kim Gallery
    Kwon Young-Woo is considered one of the founding members of the Dansaekhwa movement that has been steadily gaining traction over the last decade. Untitled is demonstrative of Kwon's technique of creating all-over compositions, achieved through destructive methods such as rips and punctures to emphasise the primacy of the ground.
  6. Wang Shang (Statements, Booth N1, Magician Space)

    An installation view of Magician Space's booth featuring works by Wang Shang at Art Basel 2017
    Image courtesy of Westoby
    Magician Space presents a solo exhibition of young Chinese artist Wang Shang at this year's fair. A certified gemologist, Wang Shang's stainless steel sculptures are clearly influenced by the rocks and stones that he has encountered. A motif that often features in traditional Chinese art and landscapes, his work explored the commonalities shared between the fields of geology, natural history, and human civilisation. 
  7. Nam June Paik (Features, Booth J12, James Cohan Gallery)

    An installation view of works by Nam June Paik at the James Cohan Gallery booth
    Image courtesy of Westoby
    Video art is definitely having its moment in the art world. However, Korean artist Nam June Paik has been working in this medium since the 1960s. On view are a variety of works that span across almost two decades of his ouvre and include TV Buddha (1992) and Portable God (1989).
  8. Guan Xiao (Statements, Booth N12, Antenna Space)

    Antenna Space's booth features "Air Freshner, Spray" (2017) by Guan Xiao
    Image courtesy of Westoby

    Winter can be a gloomy time of the year where we all dream of warmer weather. However, Chinese artist Guan Xiao has taken it one step further with her installation Air Freshener, Spray, in which she assembled artificial materials into a landscape that mimicked a tropical climate.

  9. Do Ho Suh, Main Entrance, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA (Galleries, Booth L9, Lehmann Maupin)

    Do Ho Suh's "Main Entrance, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA" (2016) at the Lehmann Maupin booth at Art Basel
    Image courtesy of Lehmann Maupin
    Korean artist Do Ho Suh is known for his stunningly monumental ghostly structures made from stainless steel frames and translucent coloured fabrics. Main Entrance, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA is part of an exploration into issues of identity, history, space, and memory, embodying the kind of works he has come to be famous for.
  10. Heman Chong, Cover (Versions) series (Edition, Booth E2, STPI)

    "Alphaville" (2006) and "Funny Games" (2006) by Heman Chong
    Image courtesy of the artist and STPI
    Singaporean artist and curator Heman Chong is known for his highly conceptual works that often engage with words and books. His Cover (Versions) is an ongoing series of works that depict imaginary covers of various books all equal in size, which reduce literary works of art to a mere index.



Art Basel runs from 15th till 18th June in Basel, at the Swiss exhibition site Messe Basel, Messeplatz 10, 405 Basel, Switzerland. For information on opening hours and more, click here.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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